Within the rich tapestry of Jewish tradition, there exist three special commandments entrusted to Jewish women: the kindling of Shabbat candles, the act of separating challah (a piece of dough), and adherence to the sacred laws governing intimate relations within marriage. These commandments, while specifically addressed to Jewish women, extend beyond the boundaries of faith and offer profound lessons for all who seek to deepen their connection to the Divine and elevate their daily lives. In the life of Sarah, a paragon of righteousness, these commandments were not mere rituals but conduits of miraculous blessings, illuminating her path with Divine light and grace. This blog explores the three miracles associated with these commandments and reveals the universal wisdom they hold for humanity.
Sarah’s Miracles and Eternal Wisdom
In the Jewish tradition, there are three specific commandments entrusted to women:
- lighting the Shabbat candles
- separating challah (a piece of dough)
- and observing the laws governing intimate relations within marriage
During Sarah’s lifetime, these commandments were not only observed but also accompanied by three remarkable miracles, highlighting her extraordinary righteousness and faith. The first of these miracles was linked to lighting the Shabbat candles. Sarah would kindle the Shabbat candles every Friday night, and miraculously, these candles continued to burn until the following Shabbat. This miraculous endurance symbolizes the enduring light of her faith and the eternal presence of G-d in her life.
The second miracle was associated with Sarah’s baking of bread. When Sarah prepared bread, it had a supernatural quality; it satisfied and nourished people in extraordinary ways. This miracle illustrates how Sarah’s actions were blessed with abundance and how her efforts bore fruit beyond what could be expected.
The third miracle was the presence of a constant cloud above the tent of Abraham and Sarah. This cloud signified the divine presence and G-d’s watchful eye over their dwelling. It emphasized the holiness and sacredness of their home.
While these three miracles are specifically connected to Jewish women’s observance of commandments, there are profound lessons here for everyone. Each of these miracles followed specific actions taken by Abraham and Sarah, demonstrating that human effort is a prerequisite for G-d’s blessings. This highlights the concept that, while we should put in the effort, we should not necessarily expect miraculous outcomes in return, but we can put or trust in G-d that He will bless our efforts when they are in line with His will.
For instance, the commandment regarding married life and its connection to G-d’s presence illustrates that G-d blesses a marriage when partners are faithful to one another. On a deeper level, we can say that the tent of Abraham and Sarah represents something beyond our own selves, much like clothing that provides protection. In a similar manner, we must clothe ourselves with the teachings of the Torah, even when full understanding eludes us.
The commandment of taking challah, which is relevant only to Jews but, can teach us all the importance of recognizing the needs of others and assisting them in times of need. On a deeper level we can say that just as food becomes part of us when we consume it, the Torah and its commandments should be integrated into our thoughts and actions, becoming an inseparable part of our lives.
The act of lighting Shabbat candles, signifying the need for light in times of darkness and sorrow, provides us with an essential lesson. Just as Sarah’s candles brought illumination to her home, we too can bring light to the lives of those in need by visiting them or extending invitations of warmth and companionship.
In essence, this narrative encourages us all to play an active role in our spiritual and moral journey. By embracing faith, righteousness, and compassion, we can collectively work towards illuminating the world and lightening the burdens of those in need, whether it is on a spiritual, material, or social level. These three miracles and commandments serve as a timeless guide for leading a life enriched with faith, love, and kindness.
The three miracles intertwined with these commandments illuminate a universal truth: our efforts, guided by faith and compassion, are the catalysts for divine blessings. Just as the flames of Sarah’s Shabbat candles burned continuously, signifying the perpetual presence of the divine, and her bread nourished beyond the ordinary, our actions, too, can be graced with abundance. The ever-present cloud above the tent of Abraham and Sarah reminds us of the sacredness in our homes and our lives when infused with the light of the divine. In the same spirit, we are all capable of brightening the world and uplifting those burdened by sorrow and need.
By Angelique Sijbolts
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